Pay-Per-Click Vs. Organic SEO: Which is The Right Investment?

photo of man typing on laptop with superimposed caption reading SEO: pay-per-click vs organic


If you’ve just opened or rebranded your addiction rehab facility you may be unsure of which digital marketing strategy to invest in – pay per click or organic SEO. In short, your answer depends largely on your goals, budget and standing within the addiction rehab industry. Search engines will likely be among the primary ways your prospective clients find your facility’s website, so it pays to invest in search engine marketing. But with a limited budget, how do you choose the right approach?

Basic Definitions of Pay-Per-Click and Organic SEO

Before you can make any decision about which search engine marketing strategy is right for you, it would be best if you had a firm understanding of each.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results. This includes any traffic that you don’t have to pay for.[1]

To help you better understand the difference, simply type in a random keyword phrase into a Google search and observe the results. The listings at the very top of the page with the word “Ad” next to them are from PPC advertising. The listings directly below them are all from organic SEO.

intentionally blurred photo of a ppc ad used by a addiction rehab industry facility

Sample of a Google Ad

Pay-per-click (PPC) refers to paying for advertising space based on specific targeted keywords on search results pages. There are multiple PPC options, including Google AdWords, Bing Ads and on most major social media networks.[2]

*As of September 2017, Google is no longer allowing any rehabs to advertise through Google Adwords for most rehab related keywords. Google is supposedly reviewing their internal policies concerning the addiction rehab industry use of Google Adwords for advertising. Many believe that Google will allow rehabs to advertise again at some point in the future, but only after rehabs meet whatever new criteria and guidelines Google has established for the addiction rehab industry.

The Arguments for and Against PPC

For addiction rehabs that are brand new to the market, PPC makes an excellent initial marketing push. It’s a great way to jumpstart your business’s digital marketing efforts. While PPC ads do not have amazingly high click-through-rates, they do boast strong conversion when a user does decide to click through. Also, PPC allows you to rank for multiple search terms quickly – meaning by the next day.[3]

The main argument against PPC is the potential enormous costs. In addition to having to pay anywhere from pennies to multiple dollars per click, to get the most out of a PPC campaign, you need to manage it full-time. If you’re inexperienced with digital marketing or lack the time to commit to managing your campaigns, your best bet will be to hire an outside firm to handle it for you. This will multiply the costs and perhaps make it unaffordable.

The Arguments for and Against Organic SEO

There’s not much question that SEO is the most effective long-term strategy for your addiction rehab facility. In addition to being free, organic results are more likely to be clicked on than PPC ads and provides more sustainable results. However, if you’re looking to begin ranking for any search term any time soon, organic SEO is not a strategy that will be effective for that goal. It takes time and considerable effort for your SEO commitments to begin paying off in noticeable ways.[4]

photo of two business people looking at a laptop analyzing financial numbers

Additionally, while PPC does require some skill, the learning curve is much steeper when relying on organic SEO. There are over 200 factors that contribute to your SEO. If it were easy to rank using free tools, there wouldn’t be a multibillion dollar industry dedicated to it. A person who is inexperienced with SEO strategies will likely struggle to get the results that he or she wants and will ultimately be using a trial and error approach.

What’s Right for Your Addiction Rehab Facility?

When determining which strategy is right for you, it’s important to ask yourself some important questions. Do you need to begin ranking on page 1 immediately? Do you have a limited budget that may not be able to sustain a lengthy PPC campaign? Is your facility relatively well-known or will you be introducing it to the industry for the first time? Do you have the patience to commit to SEO for the long-haul?

Your answers to these questions and many others will go a long way in helping you decide which direction to go. In many cases, it’s best to use both strategies in varying degrees to maximize your search rankings both in the short and long-term.

If you are unsure what to do with your digital marketing, rather than throwing money at it and hoping for the best, the ideal strategy would be to work with trained professionals. MPA Rehab Marketing offers addiction care facilities the best of both worlds. We have an intimate understanding of the addiction rehab industry and an in-depth mastery of digital marketing. We invite you to discuss which strategies would work best for you by calling us at 732-214-9600.

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